• synonyms


[fawr-fah-ther, fohr-]
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  1. an ancestor.
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Origin of forefather

First recorded in 1250–1300, forefather is from the Middle English word forefader. See fore-, father
Related formsfore·fa·ther·ly, adjective

Synonyms for forefather

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Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for forefather

predecessor, antecedent, ascendant, precursor, patriarch, progenitor, primogenitor, procreator

Examples from the Web for forefather

Historical Examples of forefather

  • Orkins might be the forefather of a new race—a helluva race.

    The Whispering Spheres

    Russell Robert Winterbotham

  • It remained upon the point of rock, and my forefather took it thence.

  • You see the further away your forefather is, the more the virtue.

    The Faith Doctor

    Edward Eggleston

  • Your forefather, who, in the revival of science, sought the secrets of Apollonius and Paracelsus.


    Edward Bulwer Lytton

  • It is said that in olden times the forefather of the Armenians had to flee for his life.

British Dictionary definitions for forefather


  1. an ancestor, esp a male
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Derived Formsforefatherly, adjective
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for forefather


"ancestor," c.1300, from fore- + father (n.); perhaps directly from Old Norse forfaðir.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper